Supporting Local News

Spiralling costs push publicans closer to the door

A new survey of publicans has found that almost half have seen their business costs rocket by nearly one third – with energy, staffing, taxes and insurance pushing them to the brink.

In the survey of members by the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI), 96% ranked energy bills as the greatest concern, followed by staffing (66%), with 63% citing tax, rates and excise duty as a particular headache followed by insurance (56%) as the fourth most worrying bill through the door.

Matthew Hughes, the third generation to run his family named pub in Ballinamore Bridge outside Ballinasloe, worries that without Government help there will be no fourth generation to take over.

The pub is the beating heart of the community as there is no shop or community centre in the village which lies 15 miles outside Ballinasloe near Newbridge.

“Heating oil has doubled, there have been huge increases in electricity. You have to work hard on your clientele to keep them coming out – they want value for money, so you have to keep stuff happening,” he explains.

“I’d have music at weekends, a trad session on the first Friday of every month, a singing circle on the third Friday, we keep the traditional card games going like 25 on a Wednesday, we set up a heritage society, we’ve women who meet up for a chat and a cuppa, not necessarily alcohol, we’re looking to set up a group to get a defibrillator in the pub for security and to keep it charged.”

Photo: Hughes’ bar in Ballinamore Bridge.

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